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Companies in this industry sell a wide variety of products, primarily door-to-door or through other person-to-person contact. Major US companies include Amway, Avon, Culligan International, Mary Kay, Schwan Food, and Tupperware, as well as Vorwerk (Germany), Natura (Brazil), Herbalife (Grand Cayman), and China's Infinitus, Perfect, and Tiens.
Worldwide revenue for direct selling companies is about $180 billion, according to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). Markets expected to see strong growth include India, Latin America, and China, which according to Bloomberg is expected to surpass the US to become the world's biggest direct sales market within a few years.
The US direct selling industry includes about 20,000 establishments (single-location firms and units of multi-location firms), according to the US Census Bureau, with combined annual revenue of about $36 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association (DSA).
Personal income and consumer preferences drive demand for the diverse array of products sold by the direct selling industry. Profitability for companies depends on the success of independent representatives who sell products to the public. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in marketing and in training and supporting representatives in the field. Small companies can compete effectively by offering popular products. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 40% of industry revenue.
Competition for the industry includes online, catalog, and brick-and-mortar retailers.
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